Charles Leclerc stormed to his ninth F1 pole position of 2022 in a highly-entertaining qualifying session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Here’s who shocked us – for the wrong reasons – in Singapore.
George Russell – 11th
George Russell was a surprise early elimination in Singapore as he was knocked out in Q2, settling for 11th on the grid.
Russell struggled to match Lewis Hamilton throughout the various sessions, but his day was made even trickier by a strange engine-related issue which affected his throttle.
“I was struggling with something relating to the brakes and the engine in FP1 and it was pushing me into the corners and it kind of felt like I had throttle on as I was going in,” Russell explained to Sky.
“I didn’t have throttle and it isn’t that [issue] but that was sort of the feeling just sort of pushing me everywhere.
“It’s such a shame, I don’t think we would have been much better in Q3 because I don’t think we would have been able to resolve the problem. We’ve seen some indications already on the data of what it is so it’s one of those things. It’s really frustrating.”
Russell will have his work cut out to recover from the sixth row on the grid.
Valtteri Bottas – 16th
What is going on with Valtteri Bottas?
It was the sixth time this year that he has been out-qualified by rookie teammate Zhou Guanyu.
Granted, three of these occasions – like today – were in wet conditions, so you’d expect more from Alfa Romeo ‘s lead driver.
Especially as Bottas was flying in the dry conditions on Friday. You’d think that the car had the pace – even in the wet – to make Q3, in the right hands.
Esteban Ocon – 17th
Esteban Ocon blamed a brake issue for his Q1 exit – his third of the year.
“It was definitely not the session that we hoped for,” Ocon said. “We had some issues with the brakes on the last lap and the car pulling to the right and feeling disconnected.”
With teammate Alonso making Q3 comfortably, it was a missed opportunity for Ocon.
However, given Alpine’s substantial gap to McLaren now in the constructors’ championship – and Daniel Ricciardo also being eliminated in Q1 – his rare off-weekend is likely to have few consequences in the standings.
Who impressed us…
Fernando Alonso – 5th
In stark contrast to his teammate, Fernando Alonso enjoyed a smooth qualifying en route to fifth on the grid.
It’s a track Alonso has always performed well at, even without his dubious win back in 2008.
He qualified only 0.5s off Leclerc, suggesting that Alpine’s floor upgrade for this weekend is working well.
Watch out for him on Lap 1.
Kevin Magnussen – 9th
There was a rare Q3 appearance for Kevin Magnussen in Singapore – his first since 2014 with McLaren.
Haas haven’t scored points since the Austrian Grand Prix back in July, meaning their P7 in the constructors’ championship is under serious threat, particularly with both AlphaTauris qualifying inside the top 10.
It’s a welcome return to form for Magnussen, who has been off the boil as of late, being consistently out-performed by under-pressure teammate Mick Schumacher.
A great qualifying for the Dane, who seems to excel in changeable conditions as seen at Imola earlier in the year.